Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Schuette silent on Trump marijuana crackdown

Schuette silent on Trump marijuana crackdown

State governments have found that increased usage of medical marijuana has reduced their Medicaid costs. Eight states now allow the sale of recreational pot; the latest is California, where proponents expect the recreational-use market will become the world's largest.

Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler told MassLive that Sessions' dismantling of the Cole Memo has caused "a great deal of uncertainty" for the state's cannabis industry.

Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to rescind the Cole Memo, which protected canna-legal states from federal prosecution, MA U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling released a statement warning that his office "will aggressively investigate and prosecute bulk cultivation and trafficking cases, and those who use the federal banking system illegally", MassLive reports. Federal prosecutors could begin raiding marijuana dispensaries, and even go after users.

The U.S. Attorney for ME said Tuesday that he can't declare that his office won't prosecute marijuana possession, but such cases have not been a priority.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Sessions should focus his energies elsewhere.

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It's not even clear whether his views hew to those of his boss, President Donald Trump, who in a July 2016 interview said that, if elected, he would not advocate a federal crackdown on states that had legalized recreational marijuana sales.

Candidates from both sides of the aisle running to be Michigan's next Attorney General have slammed the Trump administration's new federal marijuana enforcement policies.

What Sessions hopes to accomplish remains unclear. Initially passed as part of the 2014 omnibus spending bill, the amendment has thus far remained in effect by receiving annual renewal. "We're going to go after somebody buying pot, legally, in their state?" But how that affects Ohio's nascent medical-marijuana program remains murky. Would someone smoking pot as treatment face jail time? As of January 7, 2018, 29 states and the District of Columbia have laws permitting marijuana in some capacity, and seven states and the District of Columbia have laws permitting marijuana for recreational purposes. But there's a way to bridge that gap. The memo also called upon state and local law enforcement officials to address marijuana-related activity in their state. Missouri is among 46 states that allow at least some limited use of cannabis extracts for medical purposes. And in many states that enacted medical marijuana laws, voters backed the measures through referendums. Members of Congress have put law enforcement in an awkward spot by looking away as states diverge from federal statute.

"The Justice Department should focus on supporting OH law-enforcement efforts to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic, not wasting valuable time and resources going after families using medical marijuana to treat cancer or Parkinson's", Brown said in an email. The 93 US attorneys around the nation still have the discretion to back off and deploy their limited resources against more serious crimes.

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